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  • African mobile startups – a call to arms: G-Startup applications open

    Startup culture in emerging markets is thriving. In Africa, for example, there is no shortage of innovation nor entrepreneurship despite missing one of the key components most startups desperately need: funding. Sure it is an emerging space, but an investment ceiling (of around R5-million) poses a huge challenge for African startups, especially in the growth phase. One viable option is to take a company overseas in the hopes of obtaining foreign investment, but this often requires a lot of legwork, money and convincing, and results in a lot of rejection. Only the thick-skinned need apply. If that sounds like too much for...

  • Company Office

    Sureswipe’s new POS Lite is a game-changer for small retailers and startups

    For a small retailer or startup to be successful and move to the next level, it’s important that systems are in place to track inventory, recon and balance merchant batch closure, manage multiple store and staff sales and have immediate access to real-time data that helps make better management decisions. South Africa’s long-standing fintech player, Sureswipe has launched a new Point of Sale (POS) app and an online business management portal that will change the way small retailers, startups and pop-up shops process card payments from customers and manage their businesses. Sureswipe POS LITE comprises an app and online portal which...

  • BuzzCity CEO on the rise and future of Africa’s mobile marketplace

    Mobile in Africa is a well-documented juggernaut. In late 2012, Africa was well on its way to reach 750 million mobile subscribers and the number is expected to rise to one billion by 2015. Recent forecasts from Cisco revealed that the number of mobile devices will tip seven billion in 2013, outnumbering the human population, thanks to growth in developing areas, such as Asia, the Pacific and Africa. It's a pretty good time to be involved in a mobile startup. Whether coming via an international competition, or an industry report, the message is clear, Africa's mobile sector is an...

  • Failing is OK: Brains behind iROKOtv Jason Njoku inspires at TEDxEuston

    Nigerian internet entrepreneur and CEO of iROKO Partners, Jason Njoku, addressed a captivated audience at TEDxEuston about the value of failure for entrepreneurs. The talk stood tall because in the startup world 'failure' is a taboo, and a word that most entrepreneurs choose to forget is in their vocabulary. What with around 400-million entrepreneurs in the startup world, it's no wonder that the image of success is cultivated to the point where people are taught to ignore their failings. Njoku, however, offers a kinder, and perhaps more real, approach motivating that young startups and entrepreneurs can learn from the dastardly word, like he did. It's...

  • Looking for a startup model? Be the change you want to see in the world

    The internet has changed the power dynamics of our world. Increases in information, connectivity and high populations of enabled individuals forces us to review the system and reconsider whether it still operates in this brave new world. This is a world where we are all empowered and responsible for defining its future. A system can be defined as “a set of interacting or independent components forming an integrated whole”. All systems have some level of structure (defined by its component elements), behaviours (such processes, required resources, information etc) and relationships (how the components fit together to allow the system to...

  • Motribe suffers staff exodus after Mxit deal

    Since being acquired by Mxit, mobile social network builder Motribe has seen a staff exodus reducing a once 10-strong staff to four people, with only one person working out of the Motribe offices. Mxit inked a deal to purchase Motribe late last year after a long working relationship that incorporated most of Motribe's staff. One of the first members of staff to leave the company after the acquisition was co-founder and former CEO Nic Haralambous who says the reasons for the exodus aren't clear. "I can't really say what motivated their departure from the company post-acquisition. I do know that...

  • Kenya’s M-Shwari crosses Ksh1 billion in mobile banking transactions a month

    Recent estimates put adoption for M-Pesa, Kenya's wildly successul mobile payment service for the unbanked, at 17 million users. The service that allows users without bank accounts to complete simple financial transactions, received a boost through M-Shwari, a bolt-on service that allows M-Pesa users access to savings accounts and loans, in late 2012. M-Shwari netted over 70 000 registrations in its first day and the latest from Fiorano Software, the company who's Fiorano ESB middleware along with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) powers M-Shwari, suggests that the service is still growing at a rate of 40 000 signups per...

  • Beginner investor? Here are 7 things to consider before funding a startup

    I have been dispensing a fair amount of startup advice of late, mostly picked up from hanging around some pretty hardcore venture capitalists (VCs). This time I thought we could look at a little something for the not-so-seasoned investors out there. So, if you've got some spare cash lying around, you might fancy yourself an investor. You've heard a few startups pitch and you're pretty sure that they are going revolutionise mobile/social/the web as we know it. You have the money and they have the killer power point so it is a marriage made in startup heaven. That's great, but...

  • Funding platform U-Start seeking SA entrepreneurs for showcase in Italy

    Earlier this year, we took an in-depth look at U-Start, the international funding platform with an emerging market focus. Headquartered in Italy, the platform is running a search for six of South Africa's top startups to showcase to investors in Milan. U-Start's online platform connects entrepreneurs with international investors. Startups that are keen to enter, are urged to contact U-Start to gain complimentary access to the U-Start platform and instructions on how to apply for the competition. 15 of the most investment ready startups in the seed and growth stage of their business will be chosen to present to a local...

  • Shuttleworth-funded Paperight wins O’Reilly Startup Showcase

    South African startup Paperight has been named as one of the winners of the O’Reilly Tools of Change Startup Showcase in New York City. Paperight, a print-on-demand service that allows photocopy shops to legally print books, is funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation. Founded in 2011 by Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow Arthur Attwell, Paperight claims to have more than 200 outlets throughout South Africa, offering over 1000 fiction and non-fiction titles as well as the country’s most comprehensive database of past matric exam papers. According to the company, its aim "is two-fold: to increase access to books and to encourage entrepreneurship, by...

  • How Super Simple Survey is cashing in on user experience

    The online survey space is crowded, very crowded. You'd have to be batshit to enter a market filled to the brim with competitors and fat cats like SurveyMonkey which recently raised US$794 million for a US$1.35 billion valuation. When Super Simple Survey popped up on our radar, honestly, we had to summon the office's fancy new espresso machine to instill the traces of zeal we'd need to take a closer look at yet another survey creator. So then, how bad is it? It turns out, Super Simple Survey is quite possibly the best looking and most intuitive survey creation tool...